Best Majors for Medical School

Leslie Turnbull
Edited by Jessica Ayad
Published on
February 21, 2024

Choosing the right undergraduate major is a crucial first step when beginning your journey as a medical professional. Though most medical schools do not require a specific set of majors, they do look at certain areas of discipline (how rigorous the major is, the requirements for the major, etc.). Having a good undergraduate major can not only boost your chances of getting accepted, but it can also help you excel further while taking graduate-level courses.

Biological Sciences

This is one of the most popular majors to enroll in among pre-med students. According to Jonathan Preminger, a writer at Inspira Advantage and author of the article, “What Are The Best Pre-Med Majors,” he found that “biological science majors represent [an astounding number of] 59% of all applicants but have a slightly below average acceptance rate [of] 40.8%” (Preminger, 2023). When looking at the statistics as a whole, biological science majors such as general biology, cell and molecular biology, ecology, and genetics, dominate the admission field. Nearly half of the students admitted into medical school enroll themselves in a biological science major due to its strong foundation of coursework and the skills they gain from it. 

If you choose a biological science major, you can expect to develop a deeper understanding of the principles of life. You will mainly be focusing on topics such as the following: cell and molecular life, physiology, psychology, and genetics. Medical schools often require coursework surrounding biology, and many students take advantage of this by majoring in one of the listed sciences. Also, due to its rigorous coursework, many biological science majors develop analytical and critical thinking skills that are required for medicinal problem-solving. 

Physical Science

Having a strong background in physical science, including physics (classical/quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism), chemistry (organic/inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry), and geophysics (seismology, geothermal physics, planetary physics), is a gateway to success in medical school. According to the same article written by Jonathan Preminger, “Applicants majoring in the physical sciences make up [only] 8.83% of all candidates and enjoy a higher-than-average acceptance rate of 45%” 

When majoring in a physical science, you can expect to learn a wider array of science than a biological science major, which may help in the long run). However, because physical science is composed of so many areas, it may be hard to grasp the knowledge of everything at once. Due to its hard nature, many pre-med students decide to avoid majoring in the physical sciences, only taking its courses when necessary.

Typically, students who enroll in these extremely rigorous majors are well-equipped for medical school success due to their learned analytical and research skills. These sets of skills provide a solid framework for the challenges students may expect and encounter in medical school. 

Math and Statistics

Unbeknownst to many, math majors are great candidates for medical school. According to Jonathan Preminger, “Math and statistics majors develop excellent analytical and quantitative skills critical for success as a medical student… only 0.64% of applicants are math and statistics majors, [but] with an acceptance rate of around 45%, math and statistics majors are excellent options.”

Having a background in pure mathematics (abstract algebra, real/complex analysis, number theory), applied mathematics (differential equations, mathematical modeling, optimization), statistics (probability theory, multivariate statistics, regression analysis, and numerous others)  train students to be exceptional problem solvers, a required trait for medical school. Similar to physical science majors, math and statistics majors learn a wide array of different types of math to prepare and expand their knowledge, readily preparing them for whatever challenges await them. Math and statistics differ from most pre-med majors due to their lack of science-based learning, which is why most people shy away from becoming a math major if they are interested in medical school. Either way, as shown in Preminger’s percentages, math and statistics majors appear to be incredible options. 

Please be aware that this article only consists of a brief list of the top majors to consider choosing. Ultimately, the key to choosing a major is to choose the major that best aligns with your personal strengths, passions, and interests. A dedicated student is more likely to succeed in their undergraduate years if they are surrounded by challenges that inspire them to become better. Beyond this, students should also consider majoring in what they excel in. Maintaining a high GPA is also a major factor that graduate admissions look at, so choose a major that you have prior knowledge in, and apply that to what you learn.

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